iBookstore Titles to Have FairPlay DRM Locks?
A report in the Los Angeles Times
claims that Apple will be using the digital rights management (DRM) technology, FairPlay, that has been used to protect songs and other media downloaded from iTunes. FairPlay uses encryption to lock media files and prevents them from being shared by computers or other players that are not "authorized" to play the media. Free speech advocates object to most forms of DRM
on the basis that it violates principles of fair use and can be used to extend copyright effectively forever. Pressure from these groups led Apple to remove DRM protection from all music on the iTunes Store, though it is still in effect for movies and TV shows.
At the iPad unveiling, Steve Jobs announced that iBooks won’t be a "native' app as iPod, Music, or Movies are on the iPhone OS, but will rather be downloadable from the App Store like the Kindle app is. Reports have indicated
that titles on the iBookstore - the e-book equivalent of the iTunes Music and App Stores - wil be priced between $12.99 and $14.99 for new releases. The LA Times report indicates that FairPlay protection will not be mandated, but will be layered on top of the open ePub e-book standard. Content providers like O'Reilly Media have argued loudly that digital rights management schemes hurt sales, and can be expected to be among those who will choose not to make use of FairPlay. O'Reilly is said the be discussing a deal with Apple to get its titles on the iBookstore, though it was not on the list of five publishers mentioned in the iPad/iBooks announcement.
Interestingly, Steve Jobs himself came out strongly against DRM in an open letter he wrote in 2007
. The letter, addressing the heads of major recording studios, eventually led to all songs on the iTunes Store being available DRM-free
. Jobs asserted then that a "world where every online store sells DRM-free music... is clearly the best alternative for consumers." He also said that DRM is bad for innovation ("If [DRM] requirements were removed, the music industry might experience an influx of new companies willing to invest in innovative new stores and players.") and bad for artists: ("if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free [as audio CDs], what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none.")